Before I get to the cake I just have to say that it is INSANE that it’s already been 11 years since Ella was born! I mean, where does time go? She was just a little girl, and now she’s in the middle of her last year of elementary school. Crazy.
Yep, I’m definitely feeling older now. Sigh.
Onto the cake:
After two years of super rich chocolate cakes, Ella chose something much simpler this year. Simpler, but no less delicious. When Ella was little, she loved fluffernutter sandwiches, and when I suggested this cake she thought it was a brilliant idea. Layers of moist (sorry—I know many people can’t stand that word, but there’s no better way to describe this cake) peanut butter cake, filled and topped with a creamy marshmallow meringue frosting.
Peanut Butter Layers:
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120 ml) grapeseed oil (or any neutral-flavored oil)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups (675 g) all-purpose flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (340 g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed (340 g) light brown sugar
3/4 cup (175 g) unsalted butter, softened
About 1 cup (225 g) smooth peanut butter
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottom with rounds of parchment paper, grease again, and dust with flour, tapping out any excess. I used baking spray with flour already in it, to make it a little easier.
2. Whisk the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla together in a medium bowl, until well combined.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and both sugar on low speed for about a minute, to get it all mixed together evenly. Add the butter and peanut butter, and mix on medium speed until the mixture is crumbly.
4. Add 1/3 of the milk mixture, and beat on medium speed for a couple of minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add another 1/3 of the milk mixture, and mix well. Scrape the bowl down again, and the remaining milk mixture, and mix well, until smooth and creamy. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared pans (a kitchen scale works great for that!)
5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers of the cakes comes out clean, and the top of the cakes springs back when lightly poked, about 50-55 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn the layers out onto a rack to cool completely.
2 cups (450 g) granulated sugar
6 large egg whites
Pinch of kosher salt
1. Combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Whisk constantly until the mixture is frothy and hot to the touch, about 5 to 7 minutes.
2. Attach the bowl to the stand mixer, and using the whisk attachment, beat on high until it’s thick, shiny, and bright white, and the bowl is cool to the touch. This can take 10 minutes or more.
Assembling the Cake:
If your cake layers are domed (mine were), use a serrated knife to even out the tops (the scarps are great to snack on!). Cut each cake in half horizontally, as evenly as possible. Spread a little bit of frosting onto a serving plate or cake stand. Top with a layer of cake. Add some of the frosting onto the cake layer, spreading with a small offset spatula just to the edges of the cake. Repeat with the rest of the cake layers and frosting, ending with the frosting.
And that’s it! It’s such a quick and simple way to frost a cake, but it looks so pretty.